Tag Archives: A Word A Day

Ostentatious Acrylic painting on text collage on canvas, 6"x6"

Ostentatious: acrylic cat painting by Leah Palmer Preiss. A cat dressed to excess in red carpet finery.

Appropriately enough for the grand finale of my week on A.Word.A.Day, here’s an ostentatious feline showing off her most opulent finery as she slinks down the red carpet to the opera. If her over-the-top style looks a bit familiar, maybe it’s because of a certain bird with a similar fondness for white furs & flamboyant feathers. Birds (& cats) of a feather flock together, & it tickles me that the two side by side spell out “NO!”

Thanks once again to Anu for another year of wonderful words. I’m already looking forward to 2017!

Original & prints in my Etsy shop.

 

Peregrinate Acrylic painting on text collage on canvas, 6"x6"

Peregrinate: Acrylic painting by Leah Palmer Preiss of peregrine falcon hiking a mountain trail with an antique suitcase. "Not all those who wander are lost."With a peculiar predilection to pack up & perambulate, this peregrine has picked an impractical path perhaps, but peregrination needn’t be practical to be pleasurable.

As someone who often chooses curious & circuitous pathways over direct routes (both literally & figuratively) I can attest that getting there really is half the fun! Painting the meadow in this piece for instance… possibly a slightly mad pursuit considering its tiny size & peripheral importance, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. And if you look closely at the finished piece, you may find an appropriate message from Tolkien amidst the foliage! (There’s also a bit of a nod to one of his aptly-named characters on the suitcase… can you spot it?)

Detail of acrylic painting in progress by Leah Palmer Preiss

Thanks once again to Anu of A.Word.A.Day for the inspiration!

Original & prints available in my Etsy shop.

 

Afflatus Acrylic painting on text collage on canvas, 6"x6"

Afflatus: Acrylic painting by Leah Palmer Preiss depicting an angelic muse breathing inspiration to Shakespeare

I didn’t know this word until Anu suggested it for A.Word.A.Day, but once I looked it up I knew it would be great fun to illustrate! There’s something delightfully Shakespearean about the definition of “afflatus” in the old dictionary I used for the background text– any word that could evoke both “an exaltation of soul” & “belching” would appeal to the bard, don’t you think? Still, I hope his expression conveys that it’s divine inspiration he’s receiving here & not digestive vapors, however angelic. It was a technical challenge even to get a likeness since his face is barely the size of my fingernail!

Here’s a work-in-progress shot showing the scale of the painting. (If you’d like to see more of this sort of thing please follow me on Instagram.)

Afflatus-In-Progress

Original & prints available in my Etsy shop, Curious Art Lab!

Succulent words this week! Acrylic painting on text collage on canvas, 6"x6"

Succulent: Acrylic painting by Leah Palmer Preiss of a green monster resembling an aloe plant in a succulent gardenNothing is more delicious than a good, juicy word, & A.Word.A.Day provides one every morning. I’m honored to be illustrating for Anu Garg’s succulent site again this week, & especially delighted to be given this word this year. In June we visited The Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, & saw the most astonishing collection of succulents there in the Desert Garden. My East-Coast eyes couldn’t get enough of their curious shapes & colors. There were a number of lizards enjoying the landscape as well, & I would not have been very surprised if an aloe-esque creature like this “S”-shaped fellow had appeared in one of the beds. Even an alien or a dinosaur would have seemed right at home!

(By the way, the Desert Garden is just one of many, & we were so entranced by all of them that we barely had time to pop into the Library at the end of the day before it closed– which was a pity, because their collection of rare books & manuscripts is as spectacular as the collection of plants.)

Original sold but prints still available in my Etsy shop, Curious Art Lab.

Xenophile Acrylic on collaged text & map on canvas, 6"x6"

Xenophile-Leah-Palmer-Preiss

Today’s painting for A.Word.A.Day illustrates a pair of elephants forming a mutual admiration society for their respective homes & customs. Just painting this made me want to travel to Africa & India, so I guess that makes me a xenophile too!

Quacksalver Acrylic painting on text collage on canvas, 6"x6"

Quacksalver-Leah-Palmer-Preiss

Today’s A.Word.A.Day painting is Quacksalver, a variant of the more familiar quack. This particular duck doctor is administering a terrifyingly large leech to his very unhappy patient. His office wall bears a dubious diploma from the Institute of Hirudiculture, conferring a degree in leechery. Three troubling vocabulary words for the price of one!

Magic, Words! Acrylic painting on text collage on canvas, 6"x6"

Acrylic painting by Leah Palmer Preiss: A wizard in purple robes holds a mysterious scroll

It’s that magical time of year again– when I get to share my illustrations for that wizard of words, Anu Garg, & his fount of esoteric etymological lore, A.Word.A.Day! How appropriate that we begin this year with Gramarye. I first encountered the word as a child, reading T.H. White’s Arthurian series, The Once and Future King, & ever since it evokes warm memories of those books, so when Anu offered it as a possibility, I knew immediately that I wanted to illustrate it. I felt the image needed some magical letters in addition to the letter “G” formed by the art, so I researched magical alphabets & did my best to “spell” out a secret message using one of the most popular. Do you have the magical powers to interpret this gramarye?

Zymology Acrylic painting on text collage on canvas, 6"x6"

Zymology-Leah-Palmer-PreissWhat could be better at the end of a long hard week in the lab than a nice refreshing craft beer? And hey, if you’re a zymologist, you can call it research!

Why a goat (aside from those elegant horns that conveniently help form the “Z”, that is)? Goats have a long association with beer– specifically bock beer– thanks to a regional German accent.

Quoth Wikipedia: The style known now as bock was a dark, malty, lightly hopped ale first brewed in the 14th century by German brewers in the Hanseatic town of Einbeck. The style from Einbeck was later adopted by Munich brewers in the 17th century and adapted to the new lager style of brewing. Due to their Bavarian accent, citizens of Munich pronounced “Einbeck” as “ein Bock” (“a billy goat”), and thus the beer became known as “bock”. To this day, as a visual pun, a goat often appears on bock labels.

That’s all the excuse I need. :-)

Meanwhile, back at the lab– Curious Art Lab, that is– I’ve brewed up some prints of this image for you!

Scandent Acrylic painting on text collage on canvas, 6"x6"

Scandent-Leah-Palmer-PreissGardening is one of my favorite activities, but inevitably there comes a time each year when I start to feel like this. It seems one minute I’m blithely puttering along, & the next, absolutely gobsmacked by the rampant growth of our North Carolina Summers. No matter how I try, I can’t keep up, so I just do what I can & hope for the best. Even a ramshackle, overgrown garden is better than no garden!

I read quite a lot of gardening books, but I don’t recall coming across this word before. The moment I saw it on Anu’s list I knew just what to paint! And “S” is such a wonderful letter– it’s graceful & decorative even in its simplest form, & very amenable to play & elaboration, whether calligraphic or illustrative.

If you’d like to see this painting & its print offshoots growing in their Etsy habitat, I welcome you to a garden tour! {Original SOLD}